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Two decades and counting as first ever Head of Department is appointed

It is now two decades of legal education at The Open University and the success story shows no sign of slowing down.

Anne Wesemann becomes the first Head of the Department of Law this month, ahead of events planned for October which will mark the 20th anniversary of welcoming the first ever intake of law students. The Lecturer in Law is relinquishing her current role as the Teaching Director for Law – with a replacement appointed in due course – to begin another new chapter for the Law School. She will be working closely with Head of School Paul Catley and a new Teaching Director in this historic new role.

It’s a new challenge which I’m really excited about and I want to help shape the future direction and development of the Law School, along with Paul and the new Teaching Director. Paul and myself both joined in 2013 and we’ve seen the School grow in the last five years; hopefully I will be able to take some of the pressure off him and also support the continued research and scholarship of our colleagues. It’s an exciting time for the School and for The Open University as a whole as it gets ready to celebrate its 50th birthday in 2019.

Anne Wesemann
New Head of the Department of Law

The first ever OU law course, ‘W200 Understanding Law’, attracted 861 students back in February 1998. This was the first of eight courses delivered through a partnership with the College of Law. Now the Law School has some 7,000 current students on nine modules, recently celebrated three more of its graduates gaining pupillages, has more than 20 central academics after starting with a mere handful and boasts its own ground-breaking Open Justice Centre.

There’s been a growing need to expand our leadership team as the School and the range of activities with which it engages has expanded significantly over recent years. This appointment mirrors the approach taken by the OU Business School where the Head of School is supported by four heads of department. I’m really looking forward to working with Anne, together with the new Teaching Director for Law. Supported by our fantastic team of associate lecturers, student experience managers, central academics and qualification managers, we will be aiming to continue the success story. Our focus will be on increasing our student numbers, improving the student experience and student outcomes, as well as expanding our research and scholarship activities

Paul Catley
Head of the Law School